Last month, I got a sunburn after only working two hours in the yard. I was wearing an SPF 60 that I had lathered on every hour. Also, I’ve been known to get a burn during the winter months. Light will literally bounce back off my skin and temporarily blind anyone standing around me.
Needless to say, I’m white. So there’s been times in the past that – as most fair maidens do – I have dreamed of not being a giant highlighter on the beach during the summer months. When this happens, no matter how many times I’ve foolishly done it before, I will turn to self-tanners in hopes they will finally deliver on their promises.
But this was not one of those times. THIS WAS AN EVEN DUMBER MOMENT!
The night before last, I reached into my drawer and pulled out a tube of Jergens lotion. I slathered it on and went to bed.
Can you see where I’m going with this?
Anyone who has tried an at home self-tanner knows that you have to apply it a lot more careful then you would a lotion. You have to exfoliate and lotion before applying it; you have to make sure you get every spot of skin with even amounts of tanner; you have to go easier on elbows, knees, feet and hands; you have to wash your hands or use a tool to apply; you have to let skin dry completely before rubbing against any material; and even after you do all that – if you’re anything like me – you still look like a character from the Willy Wonka movie.
I woke up in the morning to stained sheets, my skin was spotted white and orange, and it only took me a second to realize what I had done. The self tanner must have sat in my drawer for a couple of years, because I had given up awhile ago on having a golden glow.
Luckily, I can laugh at myself, because if I wasn’t like that I probably would have cried. So, here’s a glimpse of my leg (I had already gone over it with acetone) and you can get an idea of what my body looked like.
As you can see, I’m still pretty dang pale – even covered in self-tanner. Color seeped into the pores and drier skin, but the surface is still white.
So what do I do?
I know that this isn’t a one and done solution. Depending on the tanner, it can take a few weeks for the colour to fade on its own, but like I said, I’ve made this mistake before so I have a few tricks to help it look better.
Using a temporary bronzer on your legs will help even out the patchiness, but just remember that makeup rubs off. You can use a spray like Sally Hansen’s “Airbrush Legs,” which promises to not rub off after drying. I haven’t tried it personally, but I doubt its waterproof, so don’t count on it for a day at the beach.
Applying coconut oil, olive oil, or baby oil and letting it soak into your skin for about a half hour or more before showering and exfoliating.
It’s very important to exfoliate. Tanners essentially dye the top layers of your epidermis, so you can get rid of some of the colour by exfoliating in the shower or bath.
A hot bath with epsom salt will help ease your tensions and draw out some of the dye from your skin.
Some dye pigments will come off with acetone. Acetone is found in most nail polish removers. I’m not a huge fan of rubbing chemicals across my skin, but I will use this on darker, patchier areas.
Lemon juice and sugar or baking soda is my favourite, and by far the most effective remedy I’ve found yet. Its amazing how much better your self-tan will look, after exfoliating with this. I used this remedy and here’s the difference. The two pictures are taken only a half hour apart.
And finally, throw away the bottle of self tanner if you don’t like the way it works. Otherwise, you may find yourself oompa loompa diddity doing a lot of work, just to look normal again.